In this mystery novel, Granny Radcliff has, through a stroke of luck, inherited a fortune worth billions. She takes pity on three grandsons, lets them live with her in her mansion. She makes a will leaving her estate to them. They decide they want to inherit sooner than Mother Nature has in mind.
THE BILLIONAIRE MRS. ELLEN Radcliff had not always been the billionaire Mrs. Ellen Radcliff. Once upon a time she'd been a young, single maiden, free as the wind, by the name of Ellen Yorkshire.
Ellen's father, Randolph Washington Yorkshire, a serious New York shipping magnate, had spared no expense on Ellen's upbringing. For example, on prom night at her high school, actually an upper-class college prep school, she and her date had been chauffeured in a Rolls-Royce rather than the usual Cadillac or Lincoln limo and like the wealthy butterfly that she was she'd worn a latest-style Paris fashion gown to the elegant prom. When she'd attended Yale, she'd had her own magnificent penthouse with a panoramic view of beautiful Long Island Sound.
Independent minded as she was, Ellen had married James Radcliff, a middleclass photojournalist, against her father's wishes--nonetheless he'd spared no expense and had seen to it Ellen and James had the most expensive wedding New York City had been privileged to up to that time.
Before Ellen's aristocratic mother, Muriel, had married Ellen's father, Randolph, she'd been Muriel Collington, the only daughter of the filthy-rich Collington-Welsh Textile founder, Ezra P. Collington.
Ezra Collington saw himself as a debonair race driver, flowing scarf and all, and he could well afford the luxury of his expensive hobby. On the occasion of his untimely death in a racing accident, he had long-since divorced his wife, Catherine, Muriel's mother, so his entire textile fortune had gone to their daughter and only child, Muriel.
When Muriel had died giving birth to Ellen, Ellen's father, Randolph, had inherited Muriel's fortune.
Ellen and James had a son, Carl.
During a vicious winter storm, the Yorkshire freighter that Randolph had insisted he, Ellen's husband James, and James' and Ellen's son Carl be passengers on--to demonstrate how macho the Yorkshire males were--broke up in heavy North Atlantic seas off the coast of Holland and all hands were lost.
Ellen inherited her father Randolph's entire huge, huge fortune.
In the year 2000, at the age of sixty-one, Ellen packed up, filled a ferryboat with belongings, left New York City, took her vast fortune with her--moved to Nantucket Island--bought a grand, luxurious ocean-side mansion with sprawling flower and statuary gardens, two Olympic-sized swimming pools, and elaborate spas.
Nantucket Island was discovered by Captain Bartholomew Gosnold, an English mariner, in 1602. The last of the native Indians died in 1854. Quakers and the whaling industry took over the island. It soon became a vacationer's dream location. Thirteen miles long and four miles wide, fifty miles out to sea from the nearest land, the island was a captivating destination, famous for its unbridled, wild, unpredictable lifestyle. It was a quiet, unpretentious escape from New York daily life.
Ellen had loved the sea ever since she could remember. Moby Dick had been one of her favorite stories. She'd also loved buccaneer stories and had delighted in assimilating a rustic vocabulary along with a very refined one. On more than one occasion she'd raised eyebrows with her down-to-earth diction.
Ellen's private boat dock jutted out into the Atlantic with four yachts and three sailboats moored to it, but her favorite boat was a simple, twenty- foot, blue, fishing runabout. A large, old-fashioned outboard motor dangled over its transom.
Having the desire to help them, Ellen had invited her deceased son Carl's children--Ellen's grandchildren, Richard, Jacob, and Lawrence--to come live with her.
Lawrence, the eldest, had been closest to his mother and had taken on many of her undesirable characteristics. His grades in school were average and below, but his mother had coached him until he'd graduated from a mediocre high school. He was the tallest of the three grandsons. He wore his blond hair long so it came down below his shoulders. He usually wore a sweatband, with a peace symbol on it, around his forehead. He was most comfortable in leather sandals and cut-off Levis shorts. Like his mother, he had a tendency to lie and cheat. However, even with all these undesirable qualities, Lawrence was looked up to by his brothers Richard and Jacob and had become their mentor.